'This Is The One I Wanted To Make - Morikawa On Dream US Open In LA

This year's US Open carries a little extra significance for the two-time Major winner

Collin Morikawa of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference prior to the 123rd U.S. Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite being one of the best players in the world and having two Major wins under his belt, just teeing it up at this year's US Open is a prize in itself for Collin Morikawa

The 26-year-old was born in LA and has therefore had this week's championship earmarked in his diary since it was announced that Los Angeles Country Club would host the 2023 edition of the USGA's flagship event.

That means, despite the conjecture flying around about the merger announced between the established tours and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, he insists avoiding the outside noise will be no problem.

"I've been pretty good about just taking myself out of everything that's going on," Morikawa said, in relation to the merger. "I mean, it is what it is. I can't control what's going to happen. None of us can, no matter what we write up or what we say. 

"This is a Major that I cared about when I was like in college and I knew about LACC hosting a US Open. I didn't know where my path was going to be. I didn't know if I was going to be on Tour, if I was going to have to qualify for this, and, right, four years, pretty much four years since I've been pro. I didn't know where I was going to be, but this is the one that I wanted to make it and be at just because it is home for me.

"This week means so much. It always will be. It'll always be really special. But that's just the added bonus and added fuel for me to just go out there and put everything I have and not waste my energy on anything else."

Morikawa grew up just 45 minutes from LACC and is among the favourites to win at a venue that has been described as a second-shot golf course. Since turning pro, the American has established himself as one of the elite ball-strikers, regularly topping the strokes gained approach standings whenever he tees it up.

He also has another advantage over the majority of his competitors. He is one of few to have prior experience of this George Thomas layout, having been part of the winning American team that beat Great Britain and Ireland in the 2017 Walker Cup at LACC. He did, however, admit it is a little different now compared to then.

Team USA captain John "Spider" Miller, Maverick McNealy, Will Zalatoris, Stewart Hagestad, Norman Xiong, Cameron Champ, (Bottom L-R) Braden Thornberry, Doc Redman, Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, and Doug Ghim pose with the Walker Cup Trophy after defeating the Great Britain and Ireland Team 19-7 at the 2017 Walker Cup on September 10, 2017 at the Los Angeles Country Club

Morikawa (front-middle) was part of a star-studded 2017 US Walker Cup team

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Yeah, I don't think I ever saw LACC until 2016 when I knew the Walker Cup was going to be out here," Morikawa added. "Obviously I knew I had chances to make that team.

"I have been able to come out here, see it a few times this year, but finally seeing it yesterday for the first time, completely different, in a good way. It still has the structure of what it is, but the rough being up, the course playing a little firmer, being in tournament conditions, it obviously plays a little different."

In particular, the par-3s are a feature that have been capturing plenty of attention in the build-up. From 290 to 78 yards, LACC's four short holes are set to pose a wide array of questions to the world's best. The 15th can play anything from just under 80 yards to 145 yards given the size of the tee and shape of the green, but that doesn't mean players are going to have it easy.

Morikawa continued: "I played with DJ and Gary [Woodland] yesterday from 16 to 18, and they asked me about it because yesterday I think it was like 120. I remember like you almost had to practice teeing up with a 60-degree lob wedge like an inch off the ground, which you never do, and just trying to try and hit it perfect, because you had to with height, with spin. 

"It's only going o be that much more important this week if they do move it up. I'm sure they will. So, yeah, you have like a yard and a half to land it if you want to hit a good shot. I just remember it was a very tough shot, I pulled it off, and I think I still had like 20 feet for birdie."

It's one of the most highly anticipated US Opens in recent memory, and Morikawa gets underway at 8.13am on Thursday alongside fellow home favourite Max Homa and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x